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Cara Cimmino, M.D.

10 things to know about vasectomy reversal

Considering a vasectomy reversal? Cara Cimmino, M.D., a urologist at Piedmont Physicians Group, answers 10 of the most common questions about the procedure.

1. What is a vasectomy? A vasectomy is a surgery that is performed for sterilization purposes once a man and his partner decides they do not want more children or are finished with their family planning.

2. What is a vasectomy reversal? A vasectomy reversal is a low-risk, outpatient procedure.

3. Why might a man undergo a vasectomy reversal? If he decides he wants more children, whether this is because he has a new partner, changed his mind or lost a child.

4. How long does the procedure take? It lasts one to three hours, depending on when the patient had his vasectomy.

5. What are the risks? The most common risks are those associated with any type of surgical procedure: bleeding or infection. Less common risks include failure of the procedure or too much scar tissue that requires a second surgery.

6. How does the procedure work? The procedure involves a general anesthetic and an operating microscope. It is done in fine detail, so even a small amount of movement is amplified. The physician then makes two small incisions on either side of the scrotum, identifies the ends of the vas deferens that have been cut and cleans up the ends. Using a fine suture, he or she will bring the two ends together.

7. What is the recovery time? Recovery time is fairly short. The day of the surgery, you may feel a little soreness, which will usually last about three to seven days, depending on the patient. Men are asked to rest for the next three days. After that, they can return to normal activity, aside from sexual intercourse.

8. When can men return to sexual activity? Patients are advised not to have intercourse for six weeks to allow the incision and reconnection to properly heal.

9. What is the success rate? The success rate of sperm returning to the ejaculate is 95 to 98 percent.

10. Is there anything else to keep in mind? Men who undergo the procedure should keep in mind other barriers to getting his partner pregnant, such her age and egg quality.

For more information, visit Piedmont Urology Specialists.

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